A Place at the Table
Never thought I’d see the day when as a 76 year old married gay man, I would be asked to facilitate a group of Catholics to discern thoughts to forward up the chain to Rome. Pope Francis call for the “faithful” to be involved in the upcoming Synod on Synodality, is a turning point from prior over controlled Synods with minimal lay persons input, to asking for the messy results that will inevitably hatch from small groups.
Reading about the German meetings on the synod gives me encouragement that at least in some quarters, bishops are willing to really listen. That has not been my experience in Canada so far. For most of my life I have been not only discreet, but frankly fearful to be fully transparent to episcopal authorities for fear of consequences – exclusion – criticism – labelling – rejection. Maybe this is a metanoia moment. Praise God if it is.
You see, for many old gay Catholics like me, the impression I get is that its OK to be gay, as long as we don’t expect any change in how the church deals with us. Now all of a sudden it seems in 2022, the Vicar of Christ on earth is asking for input. And he’s getting it.
Recently in what has felt like the coldest Toronto winter in decades, and hopefully at the end of the covid restrictions, we are hearing about a few German bishops who are publicly proclaiming that no LGBT employees in their diocese will be fired due to sexual orientation. Some German bishops are even calling for blessings of same sex couples, something, I never dreamed of hearing in my lifetime.
I’m not personally needing this, but I have found it absurd that on the feast of Francis of Assisi, for decades many parishes have offered blessings of household pets. Yet a loving gay or lesbian committed relationship not only is ignored for a blessing, but publicly vilified by some church authorities.
I recognize it’s complicated, and bishops want to reduce further polarization, but we are here, and that’s another reason why many LGBT don’t feel they have a place at the table. At the end of the day, when I do the examen, I am what I am, and can be no other.
Let’s pray that the Synod on Synodality is fruitful not just for those who already feel a strong right to be at the table, but especially for the marginalized: the poor, women, indigenous brothers and sisters, LGBT people, the mentally ill, refugees, and especially those who feel alienated and unwelcome.